This is part one of a two-part series. Read part two here.
The rate of serious injury accidents has climbed over the past three years in Mission Viejo. One reason for this is traffic fueled by developments east of town like Ladera Ranch, Orange County sheriff's Captain Chris Wilson said.
Meanwhile hazardous driving tickets are down 64 percent since 2004, according to Orange County Sheriff's Department records.
"When you look back in ’04 when Ladera Ranch was developed, the amount of cross-city traffic has increased tremendously," he said.
In 2004, the Orange County Board of Supervisors OKed the Ranch Plan, a development project slated to bring 14,000 new homes to the undeveloped land east of Mission Viejo. Mission Viejo and environmental groups sued the Rancho Mission Viejo Company and in a settlement received money to put toward traffic abatement, particularly on Oso.
Development has begun and Oso still has not been widened, though the Crown Valley widening has been completed.
To meet the needs of new commuters through Mission Viejo, the city's traffic signals have been phased to allow longer green lights for traffic heading east-west, Wilson said.
The "sheer number" of vehicles on Mission Viejo roads is leading to more injury accidents, Wilson said.
“The numbers don’t lie," he said. "Population growth in the east, that’s one of the biggest contributors.”
Check Mission Viejo Patch tomorrow for part two in this series. Part two explores some of the reasons behind a 64-percent drop in hazardous driving tickets since 2004 in Mission Viejo.